alt music

November 19, 2015 2:58 pm

Wednesday night. 6:30 p.m. A crowd begins to fill up Irving Plaza to see Lights, Phases and The Mowgli’s. Time quickly fades to 7 p.m and a woman walks across the stage before the curtain has fully raised. All you can see are shiny golden shorts, longs legs and black velvet boots. Her hips begin to sway back and forth with a Jessica Rabbit type finesse, making everyone drool while simultaneously making them want to dance before the music has even begun.

The curtain raises even more revealing a stunning Elizabeth Berg (Z-Berg) backed by her incredibly talented and handsome band. It felt like a 70s disco that I couldn’t get enough of. They performed hits such as “I’m In Love With My Life,” “Betty Blue” and ended their set with their hit “Cooler” to which Z-Berg jumped off the stage to dance with the crowd and kiss an over-joyed fan on the head. There is no question that Phases set the tone for the night.

Following Phases was The Mowglis. Everyone raved and applauded as they casually walked onto the stage and unexpectedly went right into singing “Say It, Say It.” They surged all their music and vibes into the crowd performing hits like “I’m Good and “San Francisco.” I had never really heard the Mowgli’s before but after seeing them perform I wanted to learn everything about them while downloading all the music they’ve ever made.

Time strikes 9 p.m and the crowd gets wild as they realize that LIGHTS is about to come on. A purple glow envelops the stage, illuminating the silhouettes of each band member. Valerie Poxleitner (lead singer) walks out emanating everything a rock star should be emanating. Her tank, baggy, cut-up boy friend jeans and Calvin’s were just the tip of the bad-ass ice berg. Playing the synth while executing insane dance moves, she goes right into singing “Muscle Memory.” She shouts, “Feel free to dance and vibe!” This is exactly what happened.

A few songs and many dance moves later, a stool and some acoustic guitars were brought onstage and I was shocked. I had only seen this band do pop-electric videos with synth and pop ballads galore. This was my favorite part of the show. Valerie’s voice collided with the acoustic vibrations in the room and I became an eternal fan then and there. No questions asked. As a few pieces of loose confetti drifted through the air and onto an entranced crowd, I realized that we were all a part of a giant meditation. Everyone, in that moment, became blissfully aware of the raw talent exuding from the stage. No synth. No catchy tunes. Just a divine voice and sound that we all had the privilege of experiencing.

Lights finished off the show with insane electric guitar solos, immortal vocals resembling a musical lovechild of Ellie Goulding, Paramore, and Jewel, insane dance moves, crazy beats, stage jumping and all around electric frequencies at every second. Not to mention a cellphone getting thrown center stage to which Valerie responded by picking it up, and recording herself yelling, “Fuck yeah New York!!!”before throwing it back to the owner. Irving shook with excited applause and an envy towards the owner of that phone.

Lights, Phases and The Mowgli’s presented a show that was so special and endearing. It was full of light, love, hope and positivity; things that are desperately needed in this world right now. The line of the night was from LIGHTS when she said, “Sometimes you just gotta say fuck the madness and enjoy the moment. When we’re kids we don’t recognize the madness as much. And now that we’re older we just got to take moments like this and let them live.”

October 23, 2015 12:23 am

With the electronic-production prowess of Baths (think Obsidian) and the R&B influence of honest, soulful, hip-hop powerhouses like Drake and Frank Ocean, Lontalius is dismantling classic songwriting structure while retaining its best elements. In his latest release “All I Wanna Say,” he is able to somehow recreate every nostalgic, first-love feeling you have ever felt with less than 25 words.

Lontalius plays with harmonic structures by placing his elegant melodies against unexpected chords in “All I Wanna Say”. The song is able to build in tension and complexity as it reaches its apex. The two main themes in the piece are layered over one another in an ultimate, sweet, 8o8 fueled, crescendo. The listener cannot be sure if they are meant to cry from the beautiful lyrics or dance to the infectious grooves.

The development of the song is its most unique aspect. There is no traditional chorus and the entire song is hook based, it creates a structure of its own (something along the lines of intro -> hook -> more hook -> hook developed -> interlude -> bridge -> hook layered on top of intro -> HOOK/INTRO -> ending).

While he only has two tracks officially released, one needs to just go to his personal SoundCloud page to experience his originals. Lontalius (Eddie Johnston, hailing from Wellington, New Zealand). The songs feature more trademark harmonic beauty and poignant lyrical sentiment, similar to Perfume Genius but with more of a substantial groove underneath.

Hopefully you were able to catch one of Lontalius’ recent CMJ shows, if not us Americans will have to just be content with his awesome new video!

Written by Alessandra Licul